French tire manufacturer Michelin has unveiled a concept 3D printed tire that could theoretically last the entire lifespan of a car. The airless tire features a biomimetic structure, and could have its tread re-printed to suit changing weather conditions. The tire, dubbed the “Michelin Visionary Concept,” is a puncture-proof, airless, 3D printed tire made of recycled materials and which can be recycled at the end of its life. It even has a re-printable tread, so the bulk of the tire never needs to be changed.
“Because we believe that mobility is essential for human development, we innovate passionately to make it safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly,” Michelin says.
If Michelin is to be believed, additive manufacturing could do some pretty amazing things for car tires. The company’s Visionary Concept tire features a tread that adjusts to driving conditions by 3D printing a new external surface. Regarding the tire’s internal structure, Michelin certainly seems to have done its homework. The biomimetic structure of the Visionary Concept takes the form of repeating honeycomb shapes, seen by many as a near-perfect infill pattern for achieving maximum strength.
“Imagine that you don’t have to worry any more about keeping your loved ones safe when you travel, because road conditions and bad weather don’t matter any more,” Michelin says. “Your tread instantly adjusts to your driving conditions, whenever necessary, using just the right amount of materials. A tread that can be modified and replenished at will, without wasting any resources, time or money, and which protects the environment for the generations to come.”
A prototype of the Michelin Visionary Concept was unveiled on the Michelin stand at Movin’On, the international summit on sustainable mobility, in Montreal (June 13 to 15). The Canadian Grand Prix took place in Montreal days earlier, resulting in a first place finish for Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton.
Benedict. “Michelin Sees Future for Airless 3D Printed Tires.” 3ders.org. N.p., 15 June 2017. Web. 16 June 2017.